Spear of Destiny & The Samples at The Marr’s Bar, Worcester 18the December 2022
In the afternoon, terrestrial TV had offered a memorable celebration of world class football which appeared to be just as much about time running out. Not to be out done, in the evening Marr’s bar offered a confection of musical diversity: Kirk Brandon’s band Spear of Destiny and “thorn in the side of the Tories”, local punks The Samples.
With an audience swelled with a Black Flag t-shirt; a leather jacket with the bold legend – The Damned – painted elegantly across the shoulders; members of various local bands in attendance; the well-known owner of a local record shop; avuncular veterans in washed-out Samples T-shirts – the demographic on the terraces was as expected.
As if underlining their street credibility the Samples stood chatting in the bar before the whistle blew; it was clear The Samples were on more than nodding terms with most of the audience. With their instruments slung low and the new drummer receiving reassuring thumbs-up from the crowd The Samples set about delivering their game plan. Playing fast or sometimes even faster, heads down but totally aware of positioning down the political wings – both left and right. Obviously, the Samples had no intention of going to extra time. Throughout, the vocals were eminently working class, the lyrics confrontational and the musicianship assuredly tight.
The stage was tight for Spear of Destiny with six members in the band. Nearly as tight as Kirk Brandon’s throat as he had freely admitted he was struggling with his voice. Undeterred, Brandon clocked on and his voice is still as distinct as the stars on the Brazilian shirt.
Brandon is self-aware of the perception of his band. He knows the majority are keen for the anthems of their youth. The newer material from the album Ghost Population was met with some familiarity. One track – “Shine” – was introduced thus: “Don’t worry about it as it will be over in 3 minutes and 5 seconds.” The ironic laughter was lost on no one.
The drums are still tribal-esque, the guitars soaring, the sax still punctuates with an urgent insistence and the songs are most definitely Spear of Destiny. “Neolythic by Design” was a treatise of maleness, the premise being males have not evolved or changed over millions of years. By now a few males had gathered at the front visibly swaying or arm-dancing, content to reminisce with their eyes closed. The days of bare-chested, muscular men engaging in physical jousting are over.
Closing their set with a well-rehearsed encore the band emerged for the songs we had come to hear. “Rainmaker” was embraced like a collective memory over a few pints. The battle cry – “Liberator” – ensured the wilful and die-hard frontline that had grown by a significant number, were determined to suspend disbelief and reimagine the moment in time when we were princelings of our own dance floor. The mosh-pit may have been a parody of by-gone days, however, even Ronaldo is still attempting to turn back the clock.
The sobering image of France’s Kylian Mbbape carrying his Golden Boot trophy after the World Cup final – but still looking despairingly sad after losing the final – will long stay in the memory. Alternatively, the relief on 35 year old Messi’s face told an altogether different story.
By: The Swilgate Scuttler
Photos: Sarah Blyther